UNIFIL Welcomes Mandate Renewal, 31 August 2012

31 Aug 2012

UNIFIL Welcomes Mandate Renewal, 31 August 2012

The United Nations Security Council, on the request of Lebanon, yesterday unanimously adopted resolution 2064 (2012), extending without any changes the mandate of the United Nations Interim Mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) for one year, until 31 August 2013.

UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Paolo Serra welcomed the Security Council's decision and pledged renewed commitment by the peacekeepers in southern Lebanon to fully carry out their mandated tasks.

Major-General Serra said: "The Security Council underlined UNIFIL's cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), its positive achievements, and the imperative to further expand this partnership on the ground as well as through our ongoing strategic dialogue with LAF."

"This is not only an encouraging testament to our efforts, but also a clear pointer to the way forward, the very important initiatives we are working on to bolster the capacity of the LAF, including by enhancing the coordination amongst donors to provide assistance to the LAF."

"The Security Council has expressed its full support for the strategic priorities and recommendations identified by the recent Strategic Review of UNIFIL. We are pursuing the identified objectives through a comprehensive approach to the implementation of resolution 1701 that would further involve the Lebanese Government in the south. Our focus remains on facilitating the gradual assumption by the LAF of effective and sustainable security control of the UNIFIL area of operations and Lebanese territorial waters, as a key element in supporting moves towards a permanent ceasefire."

"The Security Council has welcomed the constructive role played by the tripartite mechanism in de-escalating tensions and has expressed support for the efforts of UNIFIL to engage with both parties to further develop liaison and coordination arrangements. This is at the core of our efforts to further stabilize the situation along the Blue Line. Through these arrangements, we have been able to facilitate a number of recent pragmatic measures and arrangements so that possible points of friction are removed and future incidents prevented."

"Respect for the Blue Line in its entirety by all parties is once again strongly emphasised by the Security Council. To this end a seminal initiative of UNIFIL, together with the parties, has been the visible marking of the Blue Line, which remains high on our priority. With the continued support of the parties, as we progress in marking the non-contentious points of the Blue Line, I am quite hopeful that we will be able to move forward on the marking of its contentious points as well."

"Withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from northern Ghajar, stop to Israeli air violations, as well as ensuring that our area of operations are free from any hostile activities or unauthorised armed presence are all important imperatives that we will continue to pursue with the parties."

"UNIFIL's freedom of movement and the security and safety of our personnel is integral to the effective execution of our tasks. I count on our strong relations with the people of south Lebanon and with the LAF in furthering our operations in a cooperative spirit with full transparency and mutual appreciation of our common objective of peace and security in southern Lebanon."